Kennedy Maciel Is Proudly Following In His Father’s Footsteps While Building His Own Legacy

Image Source: Kitt Canaria for Jiu-Jitsu Times

Being the child of one of jiu-jitsu’s greatest athletes can put a lot of pressure on a young athlete, but Kennedy Maciel embraces it. The 22-year-old black belt and son of Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles has been making a statement of his own on the mats, and tonight at Fight 2 Win 118, he’ll be putting himself to the test once again.

Maciel has only been training jiu-jitsu since 2012, but he’s already achieved tremendous things in the sport. He won Worlds as both a brown and purple belt, also taking home the title of UAEJJF World Pro champion last year. As a new black belt, he quickly claimed gold at 2018 No-Gi Worlds as well. This, however, will be the young champion’s first F2W match, and he’ll be going up against an opponent who earned his own black belt when Maciel was only a couple years into his BJJ journey: Marcio Andre.

Andre and Maciel are worthy opponents for both each other and the main event spot for tonight’s Minneapolis event. A three-time Euros champion, Andre also won No-Gi Worlds in 2016. But despite the fact that Andre is the more experienced grappler in the match, Maciel feels positive and confident about his own abilities. “I’m feeling good and excited!” he says. “I know Marcio is a good competitor, and maybe he has more experiences, but at the end of the day it’s a fight and I’m well trained and motivated, and we will fight!”

The success that Maciel has enjoyed thus far in his career has only encouraged the comparisons between him and his father, but he doesn’t feel like he’s in Cobrinha’s shadow. In fact, he says he’s “honored” that so many people associate him with his dad, who also gave Maciel his black belt. “I respect the legacy that he built in BJJ and outside the mats. I have seen first hand how many hours he put in to get where he is!”

Still, being the son of the Cobrinha hasn’t always been a stress-free experience for a young athlete moving up the ranks. “Before, when I was blue belt I [felt pressure to succeed in BJJ because of Cobrinha’s reputation], but now I don’t,” says Maciel. “I just go there and do my thing and fight — I love fighting!”

As Maciel looks ahead to tonight and beyond, he’s set his sights on goals that are both based on his competitive career (such as the chance to win ADCC gold) and his ability to combined jiu-jitsu with “normal” life. “I’m in a phase of my career that I’m finding my balance as an athlete and having a normal life, and I’m feeling excited and well ready for this fight! Let’s have some fun this weekend. Hope everyone enjoys the match!”

You can watch Maciel vs. Andre, plus many other exciting matches when Fight 2 Win 118 streams live tonight on FloGrappling.


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